An Irishman's cutting in garden parlance has well-formed roots before it is detached from the parent plant. Like the garden variety, the cuttings in this book have deep roots in the gardens of Ireland and among plantsmen, of both sexes, with Irish roots .
These cuttings are amusing, interesting tales of gardeners, plant-hunters and plants discovered near home or in faraway places, sometimes after great hardships. There are stories of eccentric, opinionated Irish gardeners and plants they cherished, propagated and passed on. The biographies are retold of some fascinating plants, such as the Killarney fern, the last rose of summer, and the tippitiwitchet, each with an idiosyncratic Irish connection.
Each essay had been first published in The Irish Garden magazine, for which Charles Nelson has written since 1992.
Foreword vi Acknowledgements viii 1. THE IRISH GARDEN 1 1.1 Once Upon a Time... 3 1.2 'By a Little Industry Brought to Perfection': John K'eogh's General Irish Herbal 7 1.3 'Charming Views Every Way: & Sweet Inequalities': Design Desk 1765 12 1.4 'The Prettiest Orangery in the World' 17 1.5 'When the Swift Appears, Turn Out the Greenhouse': Cranmore and John Templeton, Ulster's Pioneer Plantsman 21 1.6 '... 'Mongst the Green Mossy Banks & Wild Flowers': Cork Botanic Garden 1808-1828 25 1.7 Forty Shades of Green and White 31 1.8 A Garland from an Irish Glebe 34 2. HOME-GROWN PLANTS 39 2.1 The Short-Styled Bristle-Fern from Killarney 40 2.2 Blue Thunderbolts and Wooden Enemies 45 2.3 'My Love's an Arbutus' - Strawberry Trees 47 2.4 A Saintly Heather 52 2.5 Dr O'Kelly, I Presume? 56 2.6 The Archbishop of Dublin's Mistletoe 60 2.7 The Eighth Joy of Gardening: Ferns 64 3. THE PLANT HUNTERS 71 3.1 Dr Browne's Firecrackers 72 3.2 Thomas Drummond and the Pride of Texas 75 3.3 On the Trail of the Big-Cone Pine 80 3.4 The Most Splendid Victorian Vegetable and a Feather-Flower Bed 84 3.5 William Robinson's Little Tour in the Alps, 1868 88 3.6 'From Sea to Shining Sea': William Robinson Crosses North America, 1870 93 3.7 'Painting Pictures' in 'Beautiful, Laughing Burma' 98 3.8 Floral Gems from the Celestial Empire 103 3.9 'The Way That I Went': Praeger's Footsteps in the Canary Islands 107 4. ARISTOCRATS OF THE GARDEN 113 4.1 'Excellent as the Cedars' 114 4.2 Davidia: The 'Extraordinary and Beautiful' Handkerchief Tree 119 4.3 The Governor of North Carolina and a Very Sensitive Plant 124 4.4 Among the Heather Bright 130 4.5 Aristocrat of the Garden - The Shan Lily 136 4.6 Jubilee of a Living Fossil - The Dawn Redwood 141 4.7 Hans and the Beanstalk: A Transatlantic Tale 144 4.8 The Journey of a Rose 149 5. MAINLY ABOUT PEOPLE 153 5.1 The Last Rose of Summer 154 5.2 Quid Pro Quo - A Nasturtium Parasol for a Variegated Funkia 158 5.3 'Dear Mr Darwin': Letters from Irish Gardens 164 5.4 A Rich Bachelor and Molly-The-Witch 171 5.5 'Rip Van Winkle' and William Baylor Hartland 177 5.6 Motoring after Remarkable Trees 183 5.7 The Porters: the Everyday Story of an Ulster Heather Family 189 5.8 Garden Crime and Some Rather Original Murders 193 Sources 198 Plant Index 202 General Index 209
Dr Charles Nelson was senior research botanist and horticultural taxonomist at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin. He is the author or co-author of more than two dozen books about plants and gardens, and presented a series of programmes about Irish gardeners for RTE as well as contributing over many years to the radio programme Sunday Miscellany.
'Beautifully furnished with photographs and botanical illustrations' Michael Viney, The Irish Times 'A pleasant and elegant book' Books Ireland 'Varied and cheerfully erudite' The Irish Garden 'Highly entertaining and skillfully produced tome' Sunday Independent 'A joy to immerse ones self in' Irish Examiner 'A book to be leafed through over time, enjoyed on a cold, wet day' The Cottage Gardener 'This book will not disappoint' Heathers magazine